Friday, March 11, 2016

New Houseplant Books: Inspiration, Natural remedies + A Giveaway

Photograph © Kindra Clineff/The Indestructible Houseplant

"For all the folks who hankered for houseplants, but didn't know where to start, and for all the people who picked up the wrong houseplant and thought its hasty demise was their fault, this book is for you. We are going to make houseplants happen, and your life is going to be transformed."
Tovah Martin from the Introduction to The Indestructible Houseplant

I picked this book to review, because I knew you are going to like it. 

Honestly, if you have been on the fence about keeping plants in the house, thinking they were too old fashioned, too difficult or too much bother, this book is the inspiration needed to change your mind. 

There is, of course, no such thing as a truly "indestructible" houseplant. You can kill any plant if you try hard enough! The two hundred indestructible plants in this book are ones that are going to prosper and look beautiful even in the face of some neglect and less than ideal conditions. 

The book's layout is well conceived. Each plant has its own chapter of information and a handy chart that offers a summary of key points such as light exposure, soil type and potential problems. The last item in each chart is a helpful list of possible companion plants.

"The Details" at the end of the book addresses important consideration such as light and humidity. There is helpful advice on watering, pruning, fertilizing, dealing with pests and repotting plants. 

What I liked best about this book is that it made me want to expand my collection of houseplants. 

I have always tended to put one plant in a traditional pot and call it a day. Now I see how boring and uncreative that is! I love the book's examples of plant combinations in interesting and quirky pots. Rest assured I will be searching garage sales and local flea markets this summer to find a few stools and plant stands like the funky ones I see in the book.

This next book is less glossy, but I chose it because it would be a really handy reference to have in your home library. 

What's Wrong with my Houseplant © Copyright by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. All rights reserved. Published by Timber Press, Portland, OR. Used by permission of the publisher.

Last year I had a pest problem that I could not get under control. I ended up composting a bunch of the most badly affected houseplants. I wish I'd have had a book like this to help me confirm the identify of the culprit and figure out a solution to my problems.

What's Wrong with my Houseplant? opens with similar information regarding houseplant care and then profiles 130 indoor plants. There is information on light, temperature, water and humidity, potting medium, fertilizer and propagation that is intended to help you avoid problems in the first place. Each profile ends with a summary of common issues each plant experiences.

The final part of the book covers organic solutions of common problems. Some of the pictures of bugs and fungi are cringe-worthy, but they are bound to be a great assistance in helping you identify a problem and find an organic solution.

The Indestructible Houseplant at a Glance:
Book Author: Tovah Martin
Photographer: Kindra Clineff
Publisher: Timber Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288 pp.
Images: 165 color photos

What's Wrong with my Houseplant? at a Glance:
Book Authors: David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth
Publisher: Timber Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304 pp.
Images: 245 color photos

Thomas Allen & Sons has kindly given me copies of the each book to give away. Because I will have to send these books through the mail, I will have to limit entry to readers in Canada and the USA.

Please leave a comment if you would like to be included in the book draw. The draw will remain open for the next 7 days. If you are not a blogger, you can enter to win on the Three Dogs in a Garden Facebook page. Please make sure there is a way for me to track down your email address should your name be drawn.


  1. I am one of those who hasn't had a great deal of luck with houseplants apart from an indestructible Christmas cactus. I would love to be entered in the draw. Thank you!

  2. I could certainly use help in the pest and maintenance department, and I love to read about plants! Thank you to the publishers, and you of course, for the drawing.

  3. Getting back into house plants and these books would be perfect. Thank you

  4. What a lovely giveaway! I'm new to houseplants and have purchase quite a few now: this would be immensely helpful. Thank you for the chance to win! :)

    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

  5. Thank you for what you do! I alway look forward to reading you blogs and looking at your fantastic photos. I am an avid gardener but I feel there is always something I can learn :) Please enter me in this giveaway. Thank you!

  6. The only houseplant I have at present is a fiddle leaf fig and it is surviving, just. There is a reason it is the only one I have. Missing the green thumb gene. Please enter me also. Thank you.

  7. I have the worst luck with African violets in this house. Cannot figure out why...

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  8. These books look interesting! Thanks!

  9. These books look great...even if I don't win I'll look into purchasing them...thanks for the great review

  10. I have just started back to indoor gardening a few months ago! I would try that book to see if I can increase indoor gardening as well as my outdoor garden! What a timely post.

  11. I actually do pretty good with houseplants, but I have had some messes like the one you've shown here. Spider mites, if I remember correctly. SO hard to get rid of. I have mostly orchids now. They never seem to "come down" with anything, and they bloom so predictably each year.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Jennifer.

    P.S. How is that new little one doing?

  12. I'd love to learn more about pest management inside the home

  13. Can't enter, because living in Europe, but must comment that both books look really interesting and useful. :)
    Have a great new week!

  14. Thank you for suggesting these, they both look like excellent references. I love Spathiphylliums they preform well for me and always seem to be blooming and are safe to have around cats.

  15. The book on houseplants sounds great. I too mus go hunting for interesting pots and stools!xxx

  16. Wow would love to win a book and learn more about taking care of houseplants! My email is

  17. These books look very informative. Thanks for the giveaway.

  18. Two great looking books! I have a house full of plants. Some rooms look more like a green house but I can't imagine not being surrounded by plants. Fabulous that they are promoting organic remedies.

  19. These books are very useful for gardeners who have houseplants as well, Jennifer. Many diseases of houseplants are similar to garden plants but the treatment for indoors plants is not easier. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I hope that this is still open - I think it's the 7th day so maybe I made it in the nick of time? I just stumbled upon your blog and I am a brand new gardener. My first garden bed ever is being planted in early May. I'm hoping to do a cottage style garden in my tiny but lovely backyard and of course I'd like to fill our sunroom and home with plants.

    1. Also, I can be reached at


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